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Thread: Clear up cloudy water

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Clear up cloudy water

    Hello I am a new user to this forum and have only a basic knowledge of pools and chemicals.

    This summer I have been helping a friend attempt to get his 26' x 4' round above ground pool cleaned up after it was neglected for a year or so.

    It started out with the water level just below the bottom of the skimmer box opening, and very dirty, little greenish, with lots of bugs and tadpoles in it.

    First we set up the filter which is a sand filter, the filter was completely disassembled and cleaned the last time it was used, so it was reassembled including new filter sand filled up to where the local pool supply store said to about 3/4 of the filter, we then brought the water level up to the right height, and heavily shocked (with liquid) and chlorinated (with tabs and liquid) the pool, along with vacuuming the entire pool, the result of this was all the bugs and tadpoles died off, the water color lighten up to a whitish cloudy on the top 3/4 of the water and then about the last foot or so to the bottom was very brown, at that time we again vacuumed the pool.

    We then tested the water for PH level and chlorine level which chlorine was high and ph was low, we added soda ash and didnt use chlorine for a day and the levels were then both at normal levels. we then put tab chlorine back in, vacuumed the pool again and found that 90% of the stuff off the bottom of the pool was up. but the water was still very cloudy (couldnt even see the first step of the ladder), we shocked the pool again with liquid shock.

    tested the water almost every day for next week or so with the results being good both chlorine and ph where at normal levels. at this time we took a water sample in to the local pool supply for them to test it and there advice was to put 3 containers of Baquacil Flocculant broadcast all over the pool, along with keeping chlorine levels up and to discontinue the filter and let the pool sit until the pool water is clear except for a layer of white on the bottom of the pool which at that time you need to vacuum the pool floor again with the filter set to waste, they said that it could be anywhere from 6 hours until 3-4 days before you can see the bottom, the pool then was left for 4-5 days with very little improvement of the cloudy water (could see the first step of the ladder barely) we did at that time vacuum the pool carefully as to not stir anything back up again and did find quite a bit of stuff in the middle of the pool, the water was then still very cloudy but more of a light blue - whitish cloudy color, we left the pool set another couple of days with out the filter on and re vacuumed again.

    having very little results we went back to the pool supply store and the advised to re apply the baquacil treatment and use 4 this time so we did (and they gave us a great deal this time on the flocculant) and left the pool sit with the filter off maintaining the chlorine level. after about 30 minutes the flocculant basically all clumped together and was floating on the top of the water ( it looked like there was a bunch of meat grease floating on top of the pool) we left it like that for another 5 days and the flocculant did all sink but the water still had very little improvement (could maybe see the second step of the ladder if you looked really close) we vacuumed the pool again through waste, the water had no improvement after that, the chlorine and PH levels are both still with in normal range.

    But we are now several hundreds of dollars into this "project" and with very little improvement, We are ready to give up do to the cost and frustration when nothing or very little improves. We just want clear swimable water. Dumping the pool and refilling it isnt really an option either as that would cost a extreme amount due to having well water so the water would need to be trucked in.

    The water is currently still a whitish blue cloudy, you can see maybe the second step from the top if you look closely, the chlorine and ph level are both normal levels. What can we do to clear up the rest of this water???

    any input is greatly appreciated
    Last edited by PoolDoc; 07-25-2012 at 09:56 PM. Reason: turn signature on
    13,900 gal 26 x 4 vinyl AG pool; Hayward 300-400# sand filter & 1hp pump; 'guess-strips'; utility or well water; PF:8.6

    26' round 18K gal AG pool; Skimmer tabs; Hayward (takes about 40 pounds of sand) sand filter; Hayward 1 hp lx pump pump; 24hrs; Aqua check 15 second test strips , tests chlorine, ph, akalianty, and stabilizer ; utility water; summer: ; winter: ; iPad; PF:6.7

  2. #2
    aylad's Avatar
    aylad is offline Super Moderator Vortex Adjuster aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars
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    Default Re: Clear up cloudy water

    The single, very best thing you can do, is to be patient and stop throwing stuff in the water trying to clear it up. It did not get in that shape overnight, and it won't clear overnight.

    Flocculants (at least some of them, anyway) have their place in pool care, but not at the point where you are right now. As you can see, they usually just make things worse instead of better. The pool store will be glad to sell it to you as long as they can convince you to buy it--but at this point it's money wasted.


    To clear the pool, you first have to make sure that everything is dead. In order to do that, you have to maintain your shock level until you're no longer losing chlorine at night. Without a CYA level, though, there's no way to know if you actually attained your level, and without the ability to test the water, there's not much of an accurate way to test chlorine at night and the following morning to rule out overnight chlorine demand. Assuming you actually DID kill off all the algae, you have to be patient and give the filter some time to do the job. It won't be immediate, but throwing more stuff into the pool is going to prolong the problems, not clear them up. Do you have a working pressure gauge on the filter? Is the gauge rising as the filter is running? What size filter, and what size pump do you have?

    If you will please post some test results from your water, taken with a drop-based kit, and fill out this short chart about your pool's info, we can probably help you get it cleared up. You really need your own test kit--we highly recommend the K-2006 linked in my sig, but at the very least you're going to need the cheapie OTO (uses red and yellow drops for chlorine and pH) and a fairly accurate CYA level.

    Here's the pool chart... Pool Chart Entry Form

  3. #3
    PoolDoc's Avatar
    PoolDoc is offline Administrator Quark Inspector PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars
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    Default Re: Clear up cloudy water

    I went through your Pool Chart data, and summarized it in your signature.

    You're spinning your wheels trying to operate a 14,000 gallon pool with a 1HP pump and a 40# sand filter. Nothing we can help you do, will overcome the problem with that tiny, undersized filter! That filter would be barely adequate for a 6,000 gallon pool, but ONLY with a much smaller pump! You'd need to restrict flow to 15 GPM -- a little more than a fast garden hose.

    At your current flow rates, with a 1HP pump, you are not only forcing all the dead algae THROUGH the filter, you are shredding it into pieces as it goes. So, as you filter longer, the problem gets worse instead of better!

    Sorry.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Clear up cloudy water

    We have stopped putting any chemicals in other than chlorine, yes we do have a working filter gauge and it does rise while pumping. We are using a test strip type tester and showing little low on chlorine and PH.

    As for the filter I'm laughing at myself when I read that it is not a 40# sand filter, I don't know the for sure size of it but it is at least a 21" hayward it took 7-8 50# bags of the filter sand to fill it, The pump is a 1 HP hayward, I will try to get the exact size filter asap!!
    Last edited by PoolDoc; 07-26-2012 at 01:58 PM. Reason: fix smiley
    13,900 gal 26 x 4 vinyl AG pool; Hayward 300-400# sand filter & 1hp pump; 'guess-strips'; utility or well water; PF:8.6

    26' round 18K gal AG pool; Skimmer tabs; Hayward (takes about 40 pounds of sand) sand filter; Hayward 1 hp lx pump pump; 24hrs; Aqua check 15 second test strips , tests chlorine, ph, akalianty, and stabilizer ; utility water; summer: ; winter: ; iPad; PF:6.7

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Clear up cloudy water

    1. Get the pH between 7 and 8.

    2. Get the chlorine above 5 (dark yellow with OTO drops!) and keep it there.

    3. Get a good testkit, and check your CYA (stabilizer) (links below -- you can check local Walmart availability via the link)

    4. Filter 24/7; try to slow the flow if you can.

    + Here are links to the kits we recommend:
    HTH 6-Way Test Kit @ Walmart
    Taylor K2006A (3/4 oz bottles) @ Amazon
    Taylor K2006C (2 oz bottles) @ Amazon

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